IFS Technical webinars

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Expanded series

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Realtime Q&A

Written papers

2021 IFS technical webinar series

A programme of webinars covering a variety of topics relating to technical aspects of fertiliser production

Throughout 2021 the IFS will be organising a series of webinars for those involved and interested in the production and handling of fertilising products. Each webinar will be to the same standard as our conference papers; all will have a question and answer session, and most will be accompanied by a written paper.

Topics confirmed so far for this programme include the reduction of emissions from ammonium nitrate plants, the measurement of pH in ammonium nitrate reaction loops, Root Cause Analysis (RCA) to identify problems in nitric acid production, plasma technology for nitrogen fixation, new technology to upgrade phosphate sources into Di-Calcium Phosphate, mineral sizing, challenges involved in the management of ageing production facilities, and developments in process control.

Society Members will be able to attend all these webinars without charge, as well as having free access to the presentation charts, a recording of the webinar, and a pdf copy of the written paper, where applicable. For UK attendees, each webinar will be worth 2 BASIS FACTS CPD points.

Non-members are also welcome to attend, for a charge of £25 per webinar, or £35 for a webinar plus access to a pdf of the presentation charts, recording of the webinar and pdf of written papers, where applicable. For those who are unfamiliar with the quality of Society talks, we are offering a ‘taster’, to enable non-members to attend one webinar (only, excluding recordings and pdfs) for free. To take advantage of this offer, enter the code IFSFREEWEB into the Coupon box in your basket when registering for a webinar.

Detailed information on the webinars that comprise this programme is shown below. Updates will be added as these are finalised. Webinar registration will open for each webinar as its details are confirmed, and will be accessed from the section for each webinar, below.

Wet electrostatic dust separation in ammonium nitrate plants

Alessandro Gullà, AWS Corporation srl

Reducing emissions from ammonium nitrate based fertiliser operations

Graeme Cousland, Begg Cousland Envirotec Limited

Thursday 28 January 2021

Explanation of the new Regulation (EU) 2019/1148 on explosives precursors

Mariano Alessio Vernì of SILC Fertilizzanti Srl

Thursday 4 February 2021

New technology to upgrade phosphate sources into Di-Calcium Phosphate

Alexandre Wavreille, Prayon Technologies, Belgium

Use of data analytics to improve process control and efficiency, including prediction of emerging problems

Hadrien Leruth, Prayon Technologies, Belgium

Monday 8 March 2021

A review of latest developments in the measurement of pH in ammonium nitrate reaction loops

Francisca Galindo Paniagua and Gonzalo Fernández Ozalla, Fertiberia S. A., Spain

Progress in using Artificial Intelligence in process control to reduce energy usage

Steven Rademakers, ICL, Netherlands

Thursday 8 April 2021

The Mineral Sizing Journey from Pit to Port and its Influence on Fertiliser Products

Rob McConnell, ICL Fertilisers, UK

The Importance of Phosphate Optimisation from Mine to Market

Todd Parker, Arkema-Arrmaz, USA

Tuesday 18 May 2021

The Yara Glomfjord nitric acid plant from 1955 – a story of continuous improvement

Matej Halasa, Yara International

Revamping a nitric acid plant with a high pressure bleacher to increase capacity

Iacopo Cerea, Casale S A, Switzerland

Wednesday 2 June 2021

Advanced Process Control in fertiliser production

Knut Wiig Mathisen, Yara Digital Production, Yara International ASA

Application of Clustering to study fluorine losses in the phosphate industry

Houda Ariba, Prayon Technologies

Wednesday 30 June 2021

Root Cause Analysis to identify problems in nitric acid production

Julie Ashcroft, Johnson Matthey, UK

The application of Stamicarbon technology to develop the first state-of-the-art, commercial-scale nitrate fertiliser plant from renewables

Joey Dobree, Stamicarbon, Switzerland

Tuesday 19 October, 2021

Update on progress developing plasma Technology for Nitrogen Fixation

Magnus Nyvold, N2, Norway

How green ammonia feed and state of the art N2O abatement lead to green nitric acid production

Daniel Birke, thyssenkrupp, Germany

Wednesday 3 November 2021

Reducing emissions from ammonium nitrate plants

Thursday 28 January 2021
13.00 BST / 14.00 CEST

Wet electrostatic dust separation in ammonium nitrate plants

Alessandro Gullà, AWS Corporation srl, Italy

Fertiliser production plants have many issues to be solved regarding emission levels, mainly relating to dust and ammonia, and which require different types of technical solutions and products.

Options that companies such as AWS can supply to achieve the required emissions limits include

  • demisters, candles, meshpad and lamellar type mist eliminators
  • Jet Venturi scrubbers
  • Wet electrostatic precipitators.

This presentation will review the principles of operation of these technologies, with a comparison between them in terms of efficiency removal and pressure drop.

Focusing on dust control, many industries may be required to reduce the amount of particulates they release into the environment.  These requirements typically depend on application field, location of plants, type and quantity of dust.

The technologies for the dedusting of industrial plants are as follows:

  1. Scrubbers
  2. Filters
  3. ESP
    • Wet ESP
    • Dry ESP

The presentation will review the applications, advantages, and limitations of each of these technologies. It will conclude with a description of a case study: a new installation of WET ESP technology to control dust at an ammonium nitrate plant run by Lovochemie a.s, which is the first time that this technology has been used in the fertiliser industry.

There will be a written paper accompanying this presentation.

Reducing emissions from ammonium nitrate based fertiliser operations

Graeme Cousland, Begg Cousland Envirotec Limited, UK

Process gases from the production of HDAN ammonium nitrate and ammonium nitrate based fertilisers (and explosives grade LDAN) are contaminated to differing degrees by soluble or insoluble solids and ammonia, which then require gas scrubbing or gas filtering equipment installed to prevent emission to atmosphere.

Fibre-bed technology has been used for decades and with Brownian Diffusion type designs prilled ammonium nitrate and ammonia emissions can be minimized. A key requirement for using fibre-bed candle filters is that there are no insoluble elements in the exit air, which would block the filters. Fibre-bed candle filters using P.T.F.E. media can sometimes also be used to treat the vapour from ammonium nitrate neutralisers, capturing A.N. particles and NH3.

Where there are insoluble solids present, for example C.A.N. production and emissions from granulators and dryers, then there are various designs of gas scrubbing equipment that can be implemented, to achieve legally required atmospheric emission limits, while being as maintenance-friendly as possible. To improve operational performance and to minimise down-time and cleaning, optimised packing materials for cross-flow and vertical fume scrubbers, deliver longer life and better results. Solid particles and ammonia fumes can also be handled without risk of blocking using the Begg Cousland ‘Becoflex’ rotary brush technology, which is a highly efficient and low energy package system, that requires significantly less liquid than most other wet scrubbers.

The paper will review and give examples of these issues, solutions and results.

There will be a written paper accompanying this presentation.

This webinar will be worth 1 BASIS FACTS CPD E point and 1 PN point.

Explanation of the new Regulation (EU) 2019/1148 on explosives precursors

Thursday 4 February 2021
13.00 BST / 14.00 CEST

 

Mariano Alessio Vernì of SILC Fertilizzanti Srl, Italy

This webinar, given by Mariano Alessio Vernì of SILC Fertilizzanti Srl, will provide a brief over view of the requirements and implications of this new EU legislation that comes into force on 1 February 2021.

The presentation will cover the differences between the Reg. (CE) 98/2013 and the new one; and the definitions and role of the “economic operators” within the supply chain. Note that these potentially include manufacturers, importers, wholesalers, cooperatives, dealers, distributors, professional end-users and hobby-sector.

The webinar will also cover how to inform the various players within a supply chain; the types of substances and products listed in Annexes I and II (practical examples) of the regulation; the Customer’s Statement (Annex IV); how to manage availability of these products on the market, their possession and their use; post-sale verification and reporting of suspicious transactions, disappearances and thefts to the EU national authorities. It will also highlight practical consequences of this new regulation for the market.

Please note that, in relation to regulatory matters, the IFS and its invited speakers cannot and do not provide advice. This webinar will provide an overview of the regulation, its requirements and implications for the industry in general.

Developments in the production of phosphate fertilisers

Monday 8 March 2021
13.00 BST / 14.00 CEST

New technology to upgrade phosphate sources into Di-Calcium Phosphate  

Alexandre Wavreille, Prayon Technologies, Belgium

Following demographic expansion, the demand for phosphatic nutrients is continuously increasing all over the world. In this context, the quality of the phosphate raw material, conventional or secondary, is slowly decreasing year by year.

Prayon Technologies has developed and patented a new process route using sulphuric acid in dilute conditions that allows production of Di-calcium Phosphate (DCP) from phosphate sources with a low P2O5 content or rich in impurities. This DCP can either be processed as raw material for phosphoric acid production or used in the animal feed field.

There will be a written paper accompanying this presentation.

Use of data analytics to improve process control and efficiency, including prediction of emerging problems

Hadrien Leruth, Prayon Technologies, Belgium 

Any phosphoric acid plant generates data containing useful information to be analysed and interpreted. From this data management and analysis, a decision support system can be developed by introducing new variables called ‘soft sensors’. These provide a real-time indication of the plant performance, its maintenance level, and even the quality of the product.

Based on this concept, Prayon has demonstrated in Belgium the value of implementing such a system to get the best from a phosphoric acid plant. It consists of a dashboard that can be adapted to the needs of any other producer.

There will be a written paper accompanying this presentation.

BASIS FACTS CPD points will be earned.

Prayon Technologies, a world leader in phosphate technology, is pleased to support this webinar.

Exhibitor Booth

Improvements in process control

Thursday 8 April 2021
13.00 BST / 14.00 CEST

A review of latest developments in the measurement of pH in ammonium nitrate reaction loops  

Francisca Galindo Paniagua and Gonzalo Fernández Ozalla, Fertiberia S. A., Spain

Control of pH is of extreme importance in the neutralisation reaction process of nitric acid and ammonia to produce ammonium nitrate. Many accidents, including explosions with fatalities, have been reported related to problems in the pH control of ammonia nitrate reactors. The state of the art for this control is a standard pH probe measuring the pH of a sample, usually at 10% of concentration and at a temperature lower than 100oC. The sample needs to be diluted and refrigerated to avoid crystallisation and damage in the pH electrode. Based on the sampling system, the pH measure is delayed, it is quite unreliable and attention-demanding; typical failures of the system are crystallisation of the sample, uncontrolled dilution water, uncontrolled cooling and delays of the response. 

In Fertiberia-Sagunto the pH control of the reaction is of greater importance due to the designed working conditions at high temperature (180oC) and at low pH (close to 1). The original pH control (standard system plus tritrometer) was not safe enough and caused many problems in the pH control system of the reactor. Fertiberia has recently installed a new control system concept based on sensors that measure free nitric acid or ammonia content. They are installed directly in the exit pipe of ammonium nitrate solution from reaction, at high temperature. This system gives an instant response of the excess content of the reactants, without delays and directly translatable to pH. Several months of operation have proved the reliability of this control system and the consistency of the results..

There will be a written paper accompanying this presentation.

Progress in using AI in process control to reduce energy usage

Steven Rademakers, ICL, Netherlands

In today’s world an enormous amount of data is generated every second which, when combined with advancements in affordable data storage and increasing computing power, provides a great potential to capitalise from.  

Completely automated reporting and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) will be shown as examples of how to capitalise upon this potential in a production location that has demonstrated its value for over 100 years. This shows that these techniques are not limited in plants that are brand new. 

Artificial intelligence is a domain in which intelligent programs can solve various problems. Machine learning or deep learning are part of AI where powerful algorithms can be developed that can learn from available data and improve process control. Further, when the algorithm is exposed to new data it also learns from this, creating a self-reinforcing beneficial loop. These algorithms can be used, among others, to automatically detect if employees wear their safety gear; to predict in-line product quality parameters or to predict machine health in the future. Many more other possibilities exist.  

As an example, an algorithm will be presented that can predict a product quality parameter. This algorithm can predict the moisture content in granular fertilisers; one of the key parameters in granular fertiliser production and has a significant impact on the gas consumption of the production process. The result of this algorithm can be connected to the plant controls to automate this process. Alternatively, this information can be shown to the operators to help them improve their own decision making.

There will be a written paper accompanying this presentation.

BASIS FACTS CPD points will be earned.

ICL Fertilizers are proud to be a sponsor for this IFS presentation, your global partner for your nutrient needs, ICL Fertilizers.

Fertiliser management along the supply chain

Tuesday 18 May 2021
13.00 BST / 14.00 CEST

The Mineral Sizing Journey from Pit to Port and its Influence on Fertiliser Products  

Rob McConnell, ICL Fertilisers

The progressive reduction of particle size is a fundamental requirement for an efficient mining and processing operation. The selection and application of size reduction and screening technology will impact the economics of the business and directly influences fertiliser finished product quality.

The paper will give an overview of the fundamentals of size reduction, and the main technologies used. The application of specific principles relative to the processing of minerals for fertiliser products will be discussed.

The paper will describe the application of the technology from the underground operation through to a finished fertiliser product, for the production of potash and polyhalite based fertilisers. Case study references will be used from ICL operations in the UK (ICL Boulby) and in Spain (ICL IBP).

.There will be a written paper accompanying this presentation.

The Importance of Phosphate Optimisation from Mine to Market

Todd Parker, Arkema-Arrmaz, USA 

Phosphate is a non-renewable resource and must be managed accordingly. Understanding the phosphate industry from beginning to end is the key to unlocking the true potential of phosphate ore to produce superior quality fertiliser sustainably and cost-effectively.

Better rock processing from the mine improves grade and recovery creating a more valuable rock and better feed stock for fertiliser plants, enabling them to produce higher value fertiliser. Better quality fertiliser in turn delivers greater benefits to farmers, improving crop yields, livestock nutrition and food quality to meet the needs of a growing global population. Mining chemicals and fertiliser process aids are essential to creating such value throughout the phosphate fertiliser supply chain. 

This webinar will examine the why’s and how’s of phosphate optimisation, including the roles that mining, mineral processing, coatings and fertiliser production all play in optimising from mine to market.

This webinar will be worth 1 BASIS FACTS CPD AP point and 1 PN point..

Exhibitor Booth

revamping aging facilities

Wednesday 2 June 2021
13.00 BST / 14.00 CEST

The Yara Glomfjord nitric acid plant from 1955 to the present – a story of continuous improvement

Matej Halasa, Yara International

Yara Glomfjord is the northernmost fertiliser production site in the world, located some 30 km north of Arctic Circle in Norway. Its first nitric acid plant, in operation since 1955, is of Yara’s inhouse design and went through a large number of expansions and improvements throughout the decades. The design capacity of the dual pressure, atmospheric combustion plant was 200 t/d. This has been increased up to 660 t/d by installing additional burners and machine train, cooler condensers, absorption volume increase and an improved ammonia to air ratio. A particularly effective improvement of the production capacity was the addition of pure oxygen to the inlet of process gas compressor. Sound environmental performance of the plant is possible thanks to efficient N2O and NOx abatement, as well as robust waste heat recovery.

This presentation will describe the history of one of the oldest nitric acid plants in the world, including the concept of oxygen addition in general, current developments, as well as an outline of further improvements for the future.

Revamping a nitric acid plant with a high pressure bleacher to increase capacity

Iacopo Cerea, Casale S A, Switzerland

The Casale HP bleacher revamping scheme ensures a substantial capacity increase of dual pressure nitric acid plants. The underlying strategy is to install a new air compressor that supplies the additional feedstock air at the same pressure level of the absorption section. This additional air is used to bleach the nitric acid through a new dedicated equipment: the HP bleacher.

The main air compressor is then emptied of the secondary air, and this extra air can be used to proportionally increase the nitric acid capacity.

The revamping target is then achieved with little or no impact on the major key equipment: the turbo compressor set. Considering that the dual pressure plant turbotrain is a 4 in 1 machine, any overhaul is highly demanding and by minimising the interventions the following distinctive advantages can be achieved:

  • Minimising the shutdown period, shortening the revamping intervention schedule.
  • Limiting the expensive and critical activities on the Turboset.
  • No need to compromise the operation of the plant at the original capacity turndown.
  • Low CAPEX.

The presentation will highlights the major features of this revamping approach.

Fertiliser production process control

Wednesday 30 June 2021
13.00 BST / 14.00 CEST

Advanced Process Control in fertiliser production

Knut Wiig Mathisen, Advanced Process Control program manager, Yara Digital Production, Yara International ASA

Advanced Process Control (APC) is a supervisory process control method based on the model predictive control algorithm. Yara International ASA, www.yara.com, has implemented APC in ammonia, nitric acid, urea and finished fertiliser plants since 2004 and currently has 20 applications in operation. 17 applications are using IPCOS, www.ipcos.com, software whereas three are using Honeywell, www.honeywell.com, technology.

This paper describes the approach, project phases and procedures we are using when implementing APC together with the external software technology supplier. Key APC signals, strategy and benefits in four different fertiliser processes, ammonia, nitric acid, urea solution and granulation plants, are described without disclosing confidential or sensitive information. The importance of a well-working regulatory control system including controller tunings and advanced regulatory control functions for e.g. input flow ratio control is emphasised. The main APC projects risks including organisational challenges, process control system changes and plant modifications are presented. Finally, current challenges and future trends including integration with real-time, non-linear optimisation and increased use of online analysers and soft-sensors are discussed.

 

Application of Clustering to study fluorine losses in the phosphate industry

Houda Ariba, Prayon Technologies

This work presents an application of clustering in the phosphate industry. It focuses on the identification of fluorine losses in a phosphoric acid concentration unit. A clustering method using different algorithms was applied to group the data according to the importance of fluorine losses. As a result, the Gaussian mixture model was selected as the best method for this study.

Consequently, two important clusters of data were identified. The first one is comprised of data showing high losses and the second one is comprised of data showing low losses. In addition, a ratio R was calculated to quantify the losses. This Ratio enabled the detection and measurement of the level of fluorine losses in a phosphoric acid concentration unit.

 

Aspects of nitric acid management

Tuesday 19 October 2021
13.00 BST / 14.00 CEST

Root Cause Analysis to identify problems in nitric acid production

Julie Ashcroft, Johnson Matthey, UK

This technical paper features a review of Root Cause Analysis (RCA) of poor performance in nitric acid plants. Johnson Matthey has assisted in root cause analysis for several customers in recent years, working in conjunction with the plant engineers to improve plant performance.

Johnson Matthey was supplying the primary pgm ammonia oxidation gauze for these plants, when they began to experience performance issues, typically seeing a reduction in both conversion efficiency and increase in N2O emissions. In most of these cases, the initial conversion efficiency started high before rapidly dropping several percent during the campaign.

In all these cases, a combined team of engineers, from JM and the customer plant, proceeded with a detailed RCA to identify the possible causes of the problem and to prepare and implement the corrective actions to solve this issue.

By following the RCA process, a fault tree analysis was developed from an identification exercise, which highlighted potential cause factors to the problem. A range of root causes have been identified in different plants over the last few years, including catalyst contamination from poor gas filtration and boiler leaks. The most common cause, typically resulting in the worst drop in performance, has been a structural problem with the basket within the burner, resulting in ammonia by-passing the catalyst.

As part of any investigation into poor performance Johnson Matthey used its proprietary kinetic model to simulate the performance of the gauzes and to determine the reaction profile within the catalytic packs installed in the burner. The paper will describe how the systemised design and modelling applies to the technology systems offered to the nitric acid industry.

There will be a written paper accompanying this webinar.

The application of Stamicarbon technology to develop the first state-of-the-art, commercial-scale nitrate fertiliser plant from renewables

Joey Dobree, Stamicarbon, Netherlands

The future market environment will provide challenges for fertiliser producers, as decarbonization of fertiliser production seems inevitable. The seeming regulatory drive to carbon taxation for fertilisers and the drive of various producers towards more sustainable production, comprises a new direction for the industry. Change provides challenges to adapt, but also creates opportunities for those who look beyond the status quo.

In order to meet changing market needs, Stamicarbon is continuously investing to reduce the environmental footprint and a good example of this is new technology for steam consumption reduction in urea plants, which is illustrated by the market entry of the Ultra Low Energy plant design.

In order to fully decarbonise fertilizer production, Stamicarbon has introduced Stami Green Ammonia technology, in combination with Stamicarbon’s Nitric Acid technology, to produce green nitrate fertiliser.

This presentation illustrates the current developments, the background of the proven ammonia technology and describes a green nitrate fertiliser project recently announced in Kenya. This incorporates the complete green technology package to provide a commercial feasible solution for local green nitrate production today, based on solar and geothermal energy.

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This webinar will be worth 1 BASIS FACTS CPD PN point and 1 E point.

Advances in sustainable nitrogen production

Wednesday 3 November 2021
13.00 GMT / 14.00 CET

Update on progress developing plasma Technology for Nitrogen Fixation

Magnus Nyvold, N2, Norway

When novel methods of reactive nitrogen synthesis were invented in the early 20th century, they laid the groundwork for the coming green revolution, where a growing population was sustained by a rapidly increasing agricultural output. Consequently, the epithet of today’s nitrogen fertiliser production, the Haber-Bosch process, is considered one of the most important discoveries of the previous century. The Haber-Bosch process has been tremendously successful, in part because of how close it can operate to its theoretical efficiency limit. An achievement that depends on, and has long benefited from, fossil coal and gas. The Haber-Bosch process is therefore bound by both a theoretical limit and a dependency on fossil resources to maintain its efficiency, leaving significant improvements in the technology’s past. 

Hence, one of Haber-Bosch’s precursors has gained renewed attention: the Birkeland-Eyde process. Developed by Kristian Birkeland in 1903, the process relies on electricity and air alone to generate an electric arc, in essence an air plasma, with the ability to form reactive nitrogen for fertiliser production. The process was discontinued because of its high energy consumption, but advances in plasma science have rejuvenated the concept and the plasma process is now a serious contender for the future of nitrogen fertiliser production.

N2 Applied is at the forefront of this development, working together with renowned research institutions to improve the efficiency of plasma nitrogen-fixation (which, theoretically, is lower than that of the Haber-Bosch process). The coming years will reveal more of the technology’s true potential and impact, but the current research and development indicate that the N2 process is equipped with agronomic and environmental benefits that will make it a viable alternative long before the theoretical energy efficiency of the Haber-Bosch process is surpassed.

The webinar will detail the steps of the N2 process; its potential benefits and supporting evidence, and present the six pilot N2-units currently operating on farms across Northern Europe. 

 

How green ammonia feed and state of the art N2O abatement lead to green nitric acid production

Daniel Birke, thyssenkrupp, Germany

A growing world population and increasing wealth are the key drivers for climate change and pollution. It cannot be denied that climate change and pollution are endangering our livelihood and are becoming the biggest challenge of this century. One solution to stop climate change is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions – in case of the fertilizer industry mainly CO2 and N2O – by following new production routes or by innovative abatement methods.

Ammonia is an essential feedstock for the production of N-fertilizer. During the first part of the webinar thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions will present to the audience the fundamentals of the green hydrogen generation from renewable energy together with an introduction into the synthesis concept for the production of green ammonia and the associated challenges herewith.

During the second part of the webinar the fundamentals of the green nitric acid process will be presented with main focus on environmental protection as N2O and NOx reduction. Environmental protection is ensured by the EnviNOx® system, which is currently the best available technology for the tail gas treatment of a nitric acid plant. An EnviNOx® system enables nitrogen oxides emissions (nitric oxide [NO] and nitrogen dioxide [NO2]) in normal operation to be reduced to below 1 ppm by volume, with emissions of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O) being cut by 99%.

This webinar will be worth 2 BASIS FACTS CPD PN points.